Early Signs of Autism Video Tutorial | Kennedy Krieger Institute

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Tutorial On Early Signs of ASD:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, autism advocacy groups and researchers have all drawn attention to the importance of the early detection of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to make access to early intervention possible. The scientific literature indicates that the average age of ASD diagnosis is 4 years, despite the fact that about half of children with this neurodevelopmental disorder may be detected by age 14 months. The AAP recommends that ASD-specific screeners be administered within pediatric practices beginning at age 18 months. However, these screeners are imperfect and often require parents to provide ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers to questions about the presence of certain behaviors. Yet ASD-related behaviors often present inconsistently, and are intermixed with behaviors seen in typically-developing children. In addition, ASD-related behaviors often differ from typical development in quality, not just in quantity.

To improve recognition of the early signs of ASD among pediatricians, parents, and early intervention providers, autism researcher Dr. Rebecca Landa (http://www.kennedykrieger.org/patient-care/faculty-staff/rebecca-landa) of Kennedy Krieger Institute ((http://www.kennedykrieger.org/) has developed a free 9-minute video tutorial on ASD behavioral signs in one-year-olds. The tutorial consists of six video clips comparing toddlers who show no signs of ASD to toddlers who show early signs of ASD. Each video is presented with voice-over explaining how the specific behaviors exhibited by the child, as they occur on screen, are either indicative of ASD or typical child development.

Dr. Rebecca Landa is the director of the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Autism and Related Disorders. The videos and information presented within this tutorial were obtained through her research, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, focused on early markers of autism spectrum disorders and early developmental characteristics of children with and without ASD.

For more information, please visit http://www.autism.kennedykrieger.org.

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Comment (196)

  1. I don't know…that's a skill that my 12 year old son has still not displayed…he has still to pick up a phone and say "hello"…..it seems like that little boy has been paying attention to the world around him well enough to pretend to answer the phone….or at the very least, it's an indication that he will be on the high end of the spectrum

  2. There is one key issue that needs to be addressed. These signs are not just about autism. My 5 year-old fits every sign, but she is NOT autistic. She has a rare chromosome disorder. She also has a brain disorder. It is videos like the one that keep my daughter at 1 of 22 in the world. When people see this, it's automatic to begin testing for autism, without any thought of chromosome or brain disorders. Give signs for developmental delays and offer all potential possibilities, not just autism.

  3. Misinformation.why don't more people connect the dots that autism is being cause by many different factors and some forms could even be healed. The signs are too indicative of so many different personality types. We are in an age where personality can be diagnosed as disease. Alternative thinking is seen as illness. Seeing vids like this frustrates me. I see that you think its helpful but its not:-(

  4. Refi68, for years i didn't realize i was not answering like always looking at myself doing nothing and saying thi.gs in my mind. Your son may feel like that too.i always wonder how asd kids are just in another dimension so to speak and being able to speak what's going on inside may seem impossible to explain or describe and physically there's the neuro issue keeping thatfrom happening

  5. they dont have problem making eye contact. they do however have problems MAINTAINING eye contact as it is considered an assault to the senses/displaying too much information for them.

  6. Considering the fact that Autism and related disorders are brain disorders from abnormal brain chemistry/biology I think it's perfectly legitimate to explore Autism as a possibility. Any educated professional knows that would test for the other possibilities too.


  8. Can anyone explain to me this western obsession on pretend play?! I never did it because it seemed mean to me, now my son doesn't and here it seemed to be "autism sign" while in Russia I finished high school earlier and got PhD at 23 and never been told that I'm "autistic". Here the only thing that kids are taught to is pretend and that's the only thing they do as they grow up as adults. Sick.

  9. i agree. professionals should also be screening for chromosomal disorders as well as pushing families at risk for the disorders to get tested themselves.

  10. This is so completely riven with misinformation from a biased source. The person presenting the topic has an interest in finding subjects to be classified as ASD as it brings her organisation more money. Secondly there is no reference to any evidence based medicine studies of sufficient standing and rigor to validate claims made here. It is equally valid to say the so called asd children show better concentration, independence, insight and discovery as well as self awareness. The children asking for help, show lack of self confidence, insight, basic motor skills, are easily distracted, have failed to develop filtering skills for low value information such as pointing at a butterfly on the wall versus a new object, nor can they tell a "fake" request to look at something versus actual information of high value. What this video labels a "neuro typical" means behavior that they think is normative. A loaded word with misinformation. A better word would be behavior we can try an make money from you by putting a psuedo scientific name on it.

    Autism can be induced by medication .
     Is not always genetic.
    Autism is not just Asperger's.
    Gentamicin antibiotic given to newborns in maternities can induce autism.
    Antibiotics + vaccines can induce autism.
    Calling autism a spectrum and putting everybody in the same category  is the biggest fraud of medicine

  12. I am very disappointed that this video is posted under the guise of providing helpful information. All of the children's actions that were presented fall within normal range of development.This video shows evidence of a movement towards a very narrow idea of what is normal and the ever increasing efforts of doctors to label and categorize children. All of the children that were presented as having autistic spectrum behaviors were boys. There has been much research showing how young boys are easily labeled as having ASD because they may develop socially more slowly than female children. There was no mention of possibilities that personality or even mood could affect how these children socially interact with others. ASD should not be diagnosed until a child is 9-10 years old because there are so many factors that go into diagnosis.
    Really this video is just sensationalism meant to play on the fear of parents and to perpetuate narrow ideas of normality in children.

  13. To automatically put that first 19 month old in the category that he might have early signs of autism is irresponsible! I, honestly, did not see too much wrong with him and his behavior.
    He's 19 months!!!! Let the little boy live normally for a few years before putting a label on him! 

  14.  have a few questions for anyone that wants to answer. My therapist (which I first must say, it literally the best therapist in the whole entire world. No other "professional" has come anywhere close to unraveling the complicated, challenging, unknown mess that is me) the other day she threw out the idea that I could have had (maybe still do) some sort of autism spectrum. That is the first time I have heard anything like that in my entire life. Never have I even considered that I could possibly have some form of autism. I have been reading about it and researching it as she suggested. To be honest, most of the stuff doesn't really ring too much of a bell. Some stuff sounds a lot like me though. 
    QUESTION #1 I have a really far back memory to when I was at least 9 month (don't believe if you don't want) and I never remember having any issue with eye contact or face contact or whatever, would that mean I'm def. not on the spectrum?
    QUESTION#2 I had selective mutism (something very rare, please don't answer this unless you really know a lot about it) I know a lot of autistic children don't speak but this only has to do with anxiety (not a spectrum thing) I have read that you can't have that and be on the spectrum, is that true? Also is it common to have both? Not possible?
    QUESTION #3 I have always felt different from everyone else in the world. I've never even had a reason that I felt different. Just somehow felt that I was set apart from everyone else and I wasn't the same. Thoughts? As of right now, I feel that I am either not on the spectrum or have a very extremely mild case because I don't relate to much of the stuff I've read

  15. @Marieomaire : regarding pretend play — early pretending lets us know that the child is beginning to develop symbolic thinking, where one thing can stand for another.  When they (for example) push a block around and make car noises, the image of a car is in the child's mind even though they are seeing and handling a block.  Language is also symbolic.  Words are symbols that stand for concepts in the child's mind or memory.  Early pretend play and early meaningful language emerge at the same time, because they are both contingent on the development of symbolic thinking.  If a child is late to develop pretend play, it may mean that they lack a solid basis in symbolic thinking upon which to build language skills. That helps us understand why a child is not picking up language, and design treatment to meet the child where he is rather than frustrate him with demands for speech which he cannot yet do.

  16. This video does show some of the early signs of ASD, but it could do so in a way that is not so horribly patronising to autistic people. For example, it talks about autistic kids not engaging in "meaningful and purposeful play". Meaningful and purposeful to who exactly? The play autistic children engage in is meaningful to them. Just because you don't understand its relevance doesn't mean it's not a valid form of play. Similarly, assuming that an autistic child "does not make a social connection" with their mother because they don't use eye contact is very potentially false. Furthermore, focusing on social and communications skills as the primary "deficit" in autistic people is to possibly overplay this aspect while ignoring many of the other issues they may have, such as sensory processing problems, which may in fact underlie some of their communication issues. Communication is a two way street, and this video assumes it's the children are failing to communicate. Sometimes, it's the adults who are failing to listen. Autistic people may need help fitting in to this neuroptypical world, but using the language of "deficit", assuming their behaviour has a lack of purpose or meaning, and dwelling on a perceived failure of communication (rather than, say our failure to understand them), only serves to continue the myth of autistic as "less than". Autistic people deserve our respect, not pity. With the right help, especially early in life, many autistic people make contributions to society neurotypicals wouldn't even dream of. We need them, so please don't patronise them. They deserve better than this video.

  17. @Derek cronin
    You just gave the definition of autism…"different." By who exactly?? The rest of the world. They dont act normal by engaging in normal social behaviors this is what earns them the title of Autism

  18. I know a woman whos son is autistic hes 25 like me. He always smiled and played around as a kid didnt talk til he was 5. Autism is not the same in each person. I was like that didnt smile much didnt interact with my mom much. Didnt talk til 4 say small words thats all. Every kid is affected differently.

  19. Unless the child does not talk,        You cannot tell if they are autistic until at least eight years old,          Don`t think so ?          Check the video suggestions down the side,       "  Can you spot autism  ? "    If you have to ask ?     Then you already know the answer,           "  Subtle  ( Babbling mothers nonsense )  signs of autism 0 – 7 years "     Er ?   That`s a long time !       In other words,      You cannot tell from those early years,         The fact you are fanatically analyzing a child's behavioral development in this way suggests you should not have had children,       What chance have they got !         All children will develop at different rates,        So you will just have to see in time

  20. C'est de la grosse connerie. C'est tellement biaisé. La seule chose que ça teste c'est l'apprentissage social c'est-à-dire la soumission au contrôle des autres, leurs codes et leurs attentes comme si bébé était né avec tout naturellement.

  21. I am psychiatrist and teacher in university of autism for psychologist. I share your video. It is very pedagogic. But I discover this yeat that some of my students don't understand completely the video because it is in english. I decide to explain it in french. I hope you allowed me. I send it in youtube for my students and other psychologist or psychiatrists students 🙂

  22. The videos are useful for parents and people involved in rehab with autism children and therapists especially psychotherapists to identify ..early and to suggest intervention .
    The videos are very lucid .
    Prof G Rajamohan PhD
    Professor of Psychology
    Chennai TN

  23. Even though my son already has been diagnosed and is improving on eye contact n talking through achievements program…. I can see if  I had known about all the early signs id know much earlier to take him to Kki n get diagnosis . This is a great video. When it comes to ASD Kki is truly the best. Iv waited a year to get in on the program…. he is 4 now…and after only 3 months my son went from non verbal to actually saying things to me and sharing and hugging…. and this is just the beginning… thank you Kennedy Krieger inst.

  24. Not sure about these experts  maybe these kids prefer their own company – there are adults like that, maybe they are just going to be more independent.

  25. Do they take into account siblings and parenting skills of parents? Half of this might be caused by not wanting help, not wanting to share, worrying that the stuff will be taken away, or people misunderstand you so why bother etc.

  26. sorry but that last boy does not have autism he cant be more than a year old thats just how babies do things when they are that age and see something new they all get overly focused and tense up and grunt for a second at the frustration trying to figgure out how an object works

  27. I bet none of my parents or grandparents who had 10-15 children even cared to remember all their names let alone diagnose their social behaviors .. And everyone turned out just fine. Are these advances in technology really making us superior or making us extremely cautious to thinking of anything other than perfect ( which is someone else idea) . Things do not always turn out as you expect them but you needn't classify them if they don't follow protocol. Patience and love can FIX quite a few things. You are building robots this way and not humans. Reminds me of the movie 'Demolition Man' by Silvester Stallone. What I think is, if a kid has compassion to do whatever he likes to do, he has a potential to do greater things. Nothing else matters….

  28. Very helpful information, thank you! I have a grandson who is developing slowly, but the doctor is reluctant to do much. He is taking the "wait and see" approach, which is highly frustrating! After seeing this, I have a better idea of what to look for and what may be going on. I think a second opinion would be in order. Again, thank you!

  29. I don't like this one bit. Those children are not autistic they may just have different personalities. Yes, they may benefit from therapy to help them socialize better. Really though? "The child is not looking at his mother when getting tickled." Tickling is a reflex, and it kind of leaves a person out of control. I don't think a kid will just stare at someone who is tickling. When I was a kid I would squirm and try to get away from the tickler. Then there is the test with the bubbles… "The boy is not looking at the person blowing bubbles." Ok yeah maybe that's because he rather look at the bubbles float that is way more interesting than some guy blowing bubbles. A kid focused on a phone who cares kids are obsessed with that stuff, and he doesn't want to be bothered. I really hope this is not used for diagnosing children because I can see a lot of over diagnoses happening with this criteria. Why diagnose a child that young anyways. I'll stop there I'm done.

  30. Well, looking at this video, no wonder Institutions such as AAP have hands full of work. Honestly? Taking into consideration that every kid is different and develop in its own pace, I would be just simply cautious to put this video online. Someone mentioned it is better to start treatment even if it is not necessary rather than doing nothing. I disagree and say this is necessary to start the treatment when treatment is necessary. In order to know that this is necessary you need to find someone who will put proper diagnosis – and this is the biggest issue. Sometimes it is also good to have faith in your own child .

  31. My mom told me I always played alone and did not interact normally with others and I often had meltdowns when engaging in group play which made them call my mother on her job. My doctor suspected I had ASD due to my lack of understanding how to play socially. I think many kids who show these behaviors are not autistic but rather have their own way of communicating and their own ideas of fun.

  32. Wait till your child is about 3 to get testing done. These doctors wanna throw labels around way too early. They said my son had it. He's 6 now and does not have it. He is actually advanced for his age. Kids r kids. Like I said. Wait.

  33. i have Autism Spectrum disorder (no joke i actually got diagnosed as a baby by my doctor)

    it is not fun at all i have close to no friends and those few friends easily leave me due to me being too "self-centered" or they say i ignore them too much.. people gossip about me loudly and make fun of me… i wish i could just tell them i have this disorder but i can't get myself to do so 😢

  34. when do these symptoms show up? I have a three month old who rarely smiles and never looks me in the eyes. she doesn't respond to me trying to get her attention. is this normal or could it be an early sign of autism?

  35. I think my 3 year old cousin might be autistic. I say his name and he doesn't do anything, he is always focused on what he is doing and not paying attention to anyone else, can't talk very well (he can only say very few words), etc.

  36. I'm not a professional, but I am pretty positive one CANNOT diagnose autism at 14 months. That is just ridiculous. From what I've read, seen and experienced over the years of being a mom and meeting lots and lots of various kids, it isn't until at least 2 years of age when one can start wondering if 'something' really might be going on. Children do very often develop very differently – definitely past the first year of life. Even during the first year of life there are absolutely normal differences (some crawl at 5 months, other at 10 and it's all perfectly fine, for example).

  37. As a mother of a autistic kid the comments here are disturbing… Are ASD kids suppose to Not look "normal"
    its like a person saying someone can't have a terminal illness because they "Look normal" ….Ugh I'm saddened that my baby will be judged by the likes of ppl like the ones who commented here smh
    please educate yourselves on Autism before making statements like these

  38. This video was very informative. My son is ASD. He is 11 yo. When he was 18 months to 2 yo he was very similar to some in the video. It became completely obvious at 3 and was diagnosed by 3 seperate medical specialists. Some critisize the video, but I feel it is accurate.

  39. Some kids are just stubborn, mine responds to name only when he wants to and he will share if he wants to… It's weird that sometimes he is in great mood and will do whatever asked and share and communicate … Other times… He doesn't want to share or talk …

  40. I have a 22 month old child I think she may be Autistic, It so hard for her understand simple instruction she don't communicate her needs to me instead she wines. She knows a lot of words though. She yells like someone is killing her when she is told no or has to go night night she throws tantrums so bad I am afraid that one day she may bust her head open!! I cannot take her in public without her screaming or whining and she will walk up to any child and try to hug and kiss them then get mad and upset when told no and I have to end up dragging her kicking and screaming. she had a thing where she will take her poop and eat it or smear it everywhere this happens at least once or twice a day or every other day, it make raising her so stressful I feel I am going to lose!! It I cannot get her to eat anything she is so picky. She destroys her toys and eats her books and will lick and put all sorts of things in her mouth. she will run about as if she doesn't hear a thing I say, I thought it was a regular toddler just acting out but I feel as if this is more she has already been in therapy for showing a 20% delay in both social and physical development but due to finical reasoning sessions had to be stopped Also as a baby she didn't babble or coo much and barley smiled.

  41. aweee my youngest child is exactly like Elliot! wake up Ashley… is this genetic? I think my other two may be on the spectrum. just a little different from Elliot! I was diagnosed with Asperges years ago.

  42. they. just told me today my grandson might have autism it made me feel sad I saw a lot of videos of little kids with it and them learning to read and skills it made me feel good inside that there is hope I thank you all for sharing videos together we can fight this for all. thanks

  43. The people commenting saying this video is providing misinformation.. my son behaved EXACTLY like the autistic children in this video at that age and I had the same ignorant mindset as those commenting like it’s perfectly fine to act like that. I kept saying ‘Maybe he’s an introvert’, ‘maybe he’s just independent and wants to be left alone’, ‘he does things his own way’, ‘he seems normal to me’. I ended up taking him out of the nursery he was in as they began to suspect something was wrong and began the process of diagnosis. I was in denial. A few years later he’d gotten worse. Then at 4 I finally accepted the help from his school and low and behold my son was diagnosed with ASD by the NHS. Now at 6 he still does all these things, but it’s even more pronounced, he’s having an extremely hard time and I can’t help but think if things would of been easier if I was more open to trying to understand what was happening earlier. Parents who suspect your child is doing some of the things your seeing in the video, seek professional help do not be ignorant, ignore the comments saying this behaviour is normal, be safe rather than sorry.

  44. Thank you for this. This video has been so much more helpful to me than checklists or videos of specific symptoms in isolation. You explained really well what differentiated the ASD from normal development.

  45. I hate it when people automatically assume that people with autism are "unaffectionate" or "in their own world" just because they don't make eye contact or like hugs. Those things can be physically painful for us. There are plenty of other ways to show affection and make a social connection that don't involve touching someone or staring them in the eye. Autistic people are more aware and affection then people think, we just express it in different ways

  46. My eldest daughter Gracie aged 11 has ASD didn't even know she had it adhd so as her sister Lacey 9 years old it's hard work but well worth it both have help at school .there in a special secondary school and living life to full even both love school but Gracie is moving to St wilfrieds high school Where will continue to have help .

  47. I suspected my daughter was autistic before she was one, and everyone told me I was crazy. they continued to write me off until she was three. she was 4 and a half by the time we were able to get her into therapy. She is almost 6, non verbal, and moderately autistic. The earlier you can get into therapy, the better off your child will be. If you believe something is off, get a second opinion when someone says "it's too soon"

  48. This is relevant. As someone who has 2+ kids with varying degrees of ASD and the oldest being 16 and youngest 9. I'm a firm believer in better to be safe than sorry. If it turns out you have a child with ASD and you caught it early the outcome is more successful than the latter. It becomes extremely difficult the longer they go undiagnosed. And if it turns out your child isn't then that's great at least you didn't leave it to chance or assumed he may be 'introverted'.


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